Citrus, florals, and exotic flavors may have dominated the cocktail scene for summer and fall — the winter season is all about warmer beverages. Lift your guests’ spirits and warm up sales with cocktail ideas that will make them want to cozy up and stay awhile.

Sweet Spirits

Sweeter cocktails had their moment in the summer and fall, and you can warm guests up to your cocktail menu by appealing to their sweet tooth. Mexican hot chocolate is perfect for winter and is a fun way to tap into the international flavors trend. Blend Mexican hot chocolate with your favorite spirit and dress it up fancy with whipped cream, a crispy churro, chocolate shavings, or other creative condiments.

Speaking of international inspiration, next to the espresso martini, Irish coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Take Coda Coffee® Notorious Dark Roast and combine with brown sugar, your favorite Irish whiskey, and top with heavy cream for an authentic warm winter favorite. For a twist, add some crème de menthe or peppermint syrup for a little extra flavor.

Make it Mulled

Colder temps call for mulled drinks. And some of the most popular are mulled wine and mulled cider. Simmer your mulled wine with seasonal spices like cloves, star anise, nutmeg, and cardamom to serve up with appetizers or desserts. Play around with different wines and spices for a signature menu creation.

Warmed apple cider is the quintessential drink on a chilly day— and always a crowd favorite. Spice it up with bourbon or rum and make it your own with spices, fruits, and herbs. And we can’t forget about the spiced cherry punch. Not as popular as cider or mulled wine, it’s just flavorful and cost-effective to make. Cherry juice, whiskey, and root beer topped off with seasonal spices could be the twist on tradition you need for your menu.

London (And Scotland) Calling

Expect the London Fog to descend on the cocktail scene this year. Normally, a simple latte made with Earl Grey tea, steamed and frothed milk, and vanilla – it’s started to pop up on menus as a boozy beverage option. Consider taking Guest House® Earl Grey tea, and combine it with gin, brandy, or whiskey for an elevated version The Clash could appreciate.

Classics like hot buttered rum and hot toddies are also popping back up on menus. Experiment with different rums and swap in molasses instead of brown sugar or flavored butters. And the hot toddy is many people’s favorite go-to winter drink. It’s so versatile. Add some seasonal flavors like apple and cinnamon or flavored teas like ginger to kick it up a notch, or even blueberries or blackberries for some extra depth.

Take it Over the Top

Last year we saw a rise in creative garnishes on cocktails. There’s no reason you can’t get creative with toppers for your hot beverages as well. Give warm cocktails that special touch by topping with toasted marshmallows, candied ginger, charred cinnamon sticks or rosemary, chocolate shavings, or infuse some flavor with a cocktail smoking kit.

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